Laurence Fox’s Reclaim celebration acquired virtually as a lot cash in donations because the Liberal Democrats within the first quarter of 2021, official figures have proven, all of it coming from a Brexit-supporting funding supervisor.
The actor and controversial political activist and lockdown sceptic, who completed sixth in final month’s London mayoral elections, acquired £1,153,300 in donations, the Electoral Fee stated, slightly below the Lib Dems’ £1,278,073.
The brand new figures additionally confirmed that the Conservatives acquired £510,000, the celebration’s greatest single donation, from a businessman to whom Boris Johnson awarded a peerage after rejecting recommendation from the Home of Lords Appointments Fee.
The donation got here from Peter Cruddas, an everyday Tory donor who was made a peer in December, regardless of the fee’s recommendation.
Cruddas resigned as Conservative co-treasurer in 2012 after the Sunday Occasions claimed he was providing entry to the prime minister for donations to the celebration of as much as £250,000. A 12 months later Cruddas received £180,000 in damages in a libel action, though that was subsequently lowered to £50,000 after points of the unique allegations had been upheld when the paper appealed.
The Electoral Commission’s statistics confirmed that each one of Fox’s donations got here from Jeremy Hosking, making him the largest single political donor for the quarter.
Hosking is a multimillionaire fund supervisor, Brexit supporter and steam prepare fanatic. He was recognized to be a supporter of Fox, with some earlier reviews claiming he had bankrolled the actor’s celebration with as much as £5m in funding.
When he launched the party in September final 12 months, Fox additionally claimed he had £5m in donations. Prompted by an look on BBC One’s Query Time during which he railed towards accusations of racism within the therapy by the media of the Duchess of Sussex, Fox reinvented himself as a critic of “woke” tradition, initially by way of Twitter.
At one level Fox criticised the portrayal of a Sikh soldier within the first world struggle movie 1917, however apologised after others identified the contribution of about 130,000 Sikhs in the British army during the war.
He described Reclaim as in search of to take again British values from politicians, who he stated had “misplaced contact with the individuals”. After saying he would run for London mayor, Fox, regardless of appreciable media protection, took slightly below 48,000 first-choice votes, understanding at about £25 in donations for each vote secured.
The Electoral Fee statistics confirmed the Conservatives had been by far the largest recipients of donations, totalling slightly below £6.5m over the quarter.
Labour secured £2.44m, with the Unison union the main contributor.
Reform UK, the renamed Brexit celebration, now with out former chief Nigel Farage, attracted slightly below £122,000 in donations. It didn’t stand within the London mayoral elections, and in native elections throughout England on the identical day, it received solely two councillors.
Final month, closing Electoral Fee statistics for the 2019 normal election confirmed the Liberal Democrats truly spent greater than Labour – £14.4m towards £12m. The Lib Dems acquired giant sums from remain-minded donors eager to spice up their anti-Brexit campaigns.